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Class M – retail, takeaways and specified sui generis uses to dwellinghouses

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This Allowances is effected by the 2020 Use Classes Order Changes and is subject to a transitional period until 31 July 2021 when it will be replaced. References to the use classes refer to the previous Use Classes Order

What is allowed

Development consisting of a change of use of a building—

  • a use falling within Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services) or Class A5 (hot food takeaways),
  • a use as a betting office, pay day loan shop or launderette, or
  • a mixed use combining use as a dwellinghouse with—
  • (aa) a use as a betting office, pay day loan shop or launderette, or
  • (bb) a use falling within either Class A1 (shops) or Class A2 (financial and professional services) (whether that use was granted permission under Class G of this Part or otherwise),
  • to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses), together with
  • building operations reasonably necessary to convert the building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of that Schedule.
Where can I use it

On existing retail properties that were in use as such on or before 20th March 2013 and are neither listed or within a conservation area.

What is not allowed

Development is not permitted by Class M if—

  • the building was not used for one of the uses referred to in Class M(a) on 20th March 2013, or
  • in the case of a building which was in use before that date but was not in use on that date, when it was last in use;
  • permission to use the building for a use falling within Class A1 (shops) or Class A2 (financial and professional services) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order has been granted only through Permitted Development;
  • the cumulative floor space of the existing building changing use under Class M exceeds 150 square metres;
  • the development (together with any previous development under Class M) would result in more than 150 square metres of floor space in the building having changed use under Class M;
  • the development would result in the external dimensions of the building extending beyond the external dimensions of the existing building at any given point;
  • the development consists of demolition (other than partial demolition which is reasonably necessary to convert the building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses); or the building is—
  • on article 2(3) land;
  • in a site of special scientific interest;
  • in a safety hazard area;
  • in a military explosives storage area;
  • a listed building; or
  • a scheduled monument.
How do I use the allowance

This is a prior approval permitted development allowance and as such it is subject to an assessment of the following criteria:

  • transport and highways impacts of the development,
  • contamination risks in relation to the building,
  • flooding risks in relation to the building,
  • whether it is undesirable for the building to change to a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order because of the impact of the change of use—
  • on adequate provision of services of the sort that may be provided by a building falling within Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services) or Class A5 (hot food takeaways) of that Schedule or, as the case may be, a building used as a launderette, but only where there is a reasonable prospect of the building being used to provide such services, or
  • where the building is located in a key shopping area, on the sustainability of that shopping area, and
  • the design or external appearance of the building,
  • the provision of adequate natural light in all habitable rooms of the dwellinghouse,
  • Compliance to the national floorspace standards for all applications submitted on or after 6th April 2021.
Our Notes

Class M is one of the two key permitted development allowances that is caught by the September 2020 Use Classes Order changes. This means that the allowance is subject to transitional arrangements which put an effective stop date on the use of Class M when those arrangements fall away.

The government is presently consulting on the replacement to Class M and this is expected to be in force by the 1st August 2021.

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